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Cat Cafes: A Helpful In-Between Space for Adoptable Cats

Three cats sleeping together on a white blanket

Pictured are resident cat Luna, along with foster cats, brothers Stellar Eclipse and Rainbow Dash. Stellar and Rainbow have been in foster for over a year.

Foster cats are the best - but they don't always show it...

It was a busy day in Spring 2022 that volunteers with Felines & Friends New Mexico transported dozens of cats and kittens north from a rural New Mexico shelter, where they faced certain death from illness or euthanasia. Now, safe in Santa Fe, foster homes were needed!

That's where my family came in. We took in the My Little Pony litter, which included mom, Twilight Sparkle, and her six, adorable - VERY SICK - kittens.

From parasites to upper respiratory infections to mites - you name it, they had it. Several emergency trips to the vet were necessary to keep the kittens alive, and (truly amazingly), they all survived their kittenhood to reach adoption age.

A kitten with one eye sealed shut due to an upper respiratory infection

Pictured here, Rainbow Dash had both eyes sealed shut when he arrived in Santa Fe. But that was just the tip of the iceberg in terms of his health issues.

A few months later, when Rainbow was a teenage kitten, he started showing signs of Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP). For Rainbow, these symptoms included loss of balance, lethargy and seizures.

Once thought to be a fatal condition, there are now treatments for FIP. Not a guarantee by any means, and certainly not cheap, F&F was able to provide this life-saving treatment for Rainbow Dash everyday for 12 weeks - and then again for another 12 weeks when he relapsed.

Unfortunately, Rainbow was on his way to being a single kitten (and thus, pretty bored and probably sad) while he underwent his long treatment... if not for the failure of his brother, Stellar, to get adopted.

Yes, this is a strange way to put it, but let's dig deeper.

Six kittens posing on a white blanket

As you probably can deduce, the "cutest," "prettiest" or "most interesting" cats are usually the first ones to get adopted. Rainbow and Stellar's litter, pictured here, included two siamese, one russian blue and a beautiful gray tabby, all of whom were snatched up by adopters.

Lucky for Stellar, there was also a couple interested in adopting a black kitten! We drove him to the adoption center and let him out to meet the couple. Now, normally, Stellar is extremely affectionate, talkative, fun and generally an all around great cat. But as soon as we let him out at the adoption center, it was like he was a new feline - and he was not happy.

New places can be scary for cats, and it can take them days, weeks and even months to get used to a new home enough to be themselves. When Stellar suddenly found himself in a new environment surrounded by strangers, he was no exception.

He hissed. He growled. He swiped. He hid.

Of course, I knew this was not who my good boy was! If only he had more time to get familiar with the space, the adopters would have seen his true, amazing self. But, understandably, they chose to adopt another kitten who was more docile.

Three cats playing on a cat tree

Stellar and his brother, Rainbow Dash, remain with us in foster to this day, and they will have a safe and loving home as long as they need. They are now an inseparable pair and are so lucky to have each other while Rainbow Dash continues to finish his treatment and observation.

So, in the end, it all worked out for the better. But it's not always a happy story for cats who get the short end of the stick. The next time they get an interested adopter, the adopter will have a space to visit where the cats are comfortable. A space where the cats can run around and learn to socialize with new people - and have the company of other social cats - every day until they find their forever homes.

The Cat Cafe is meant to be this important in-between space for all cats who will benefit. The cat room is a place where cats can become comfortable and show their best selves to potential adopters - and where visitors can help support their development into social, adoptable kitties.

We hope to see you there soon.

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